Joel Habener, M.D.


Physician Investigator (NonCl)
Molecular Endocrine Physicians, Mass General Research Institute
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Affiliate Faculty
Harvard Stem Cell Institute
MD UCLA School of Medicine 1965
beta cells; chemokines; diabetes mellitus; glp-1; glucagon; glucagon-like peptide 1; insulin; insulin resistance; insulin sensitivity; islets of langerhans; nonapeptides; nutrient homeostasis; pentapeptides; protein precursors; receptors glucagon; sdf-1

The laboratory of Joel Habener, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is exploring approaches to obtaining an understanding of the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus. The team seeks discoveries of disease mechanisms that will enable the development of effective treatments to restore insulin-sensitivity, insulin production, and nutrient homeostasis in individuals who suffer from diabetes.

Dr. Habener and his team are pursuing two lines of investigation relevant to the discovery of effective treatments for diabetes:

1) Explorations of the efficacies and mechanisms of action of newly-discovered nona- and pentapeptides, derived from the glucoincretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and that have anti-oxidant, insulin-sensitizing actions on insulin-resistant tissues in vitro and in obese, insulin-resistant mice in vivo

2) Examination of the chemokine, stromal-cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), as an effector produced by injured beta cells that promotes their regeneration by the recruitment and differentiation of progenitor cells

Future goals include studies of the GLP-1-derived nona- and pentapeptides as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome and studies of SDF-1 and GLP-1 in the regeneration of new beta cells.